Get what we deserve

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Jan 29, 2006
I realize that I am about to climb onto a soapbox and some will have to kick me down. I apologize ahead of time.

I just viewed a UOA in the UOA section that got me started. The analysis is of Havoline synthetic. The UOA shows very low wear.

It's a shame that this oil seems to be disappearing. I think that BITOG has contributed to a disservice to some very great oil formulations by allowing the Group III/IV/V debate to taint obvious data. We spew crap about "real synthetic" or we tolerate it of others. If we want performance, then performance should be our measure. I think that we are doing a similar thing when we tolerate evaluations of additive packages by VOAs. If you think that you can evaluate the performance of an oil based on a standard VOA, I submit that you don't know your own limitations.
I think different oils deliver different results in different circustances in many different motors...I do not believe any one oil nor "group" of oils are the "best" for across the board usage in all motors....just aint so....I further believe most here on BITOG would concur and that nobody here advocates such....
Amen brother. I'm not sure what's worse: people praising Mobil 1 for supposedly having no Group 3 or people trashing other "synthetics" for having Group 3.
It's a bit like watching a guy win a race but then the medal is given to the third place guy because he looks most "like a runner should". Performance is what matters, as you said.
True that. I think there are still a lot of hard feelings on what is a true synthetic and what isn't. And a (not unreasonable) desire to take certain manufacturers to task for making claims that it is something it isn't.

Just extend the idea so that "oil is oil"... no "synthetic", "semi-synthetic", or "dino". It is a manufacturer formulation. Who cares what's in it? Only how it performs. All oils should compete on equal footing with no preconceived label.
I still don't believe that a $20 UOA is a good indicator of how well a particular oil does vs another oil, even in the same engine and circumstances. Ever read the post that compared different labs? They % variation was as high 100% (0 vs 1 for a reported element).

So when a particular UOA shows 12ppm of a wear metal and another shows 8ppm - is it REALLY any different? IMHO no. Given a 20% error/accuracy/confidence on the numbers, there is no difference.

UOA are good at catching something disastrous, or for seeing how long you can extend your OCI. I don't think they are a good way to compare oils.

I'll step down from my soapbox now.
I would agree with this except for my disgust at the oil company's who didn't have the time, money, or both to spend on developing a good group IV oil. To get around this and still be "competitive" they lobied the U.S. Govt. to grant "Full Syn" status to less expensive "super refined" (my term) group IIIs.
How about honesty in labeling as a compromise we might all be able to live with. For example, label the oil a group III, IV, or V right on the jug. If it's a semi-syn, give the percentages, ie. "10% group IV, 90% group III." And so forth.
Performance needs to be standardized in order to be a practical indicator. My performance in Minnesota probably won't be the same as your performance in Alabama. My performance in a Nissan truck probably won't be the same as your performance in your Corvette.
After that, let market pressure determine price and availability.
Just my opinion.

What does not excite me is the performance deltas -- which for most products are not that great, except perhaps in the service duration dimension. In other words, virtually any product of the correct vis with "SM" on it will do great up to perhaps 5k miles or so. Beyond that, they begin to show differences.

What does excite me is a variation of what Olefam mentioned, above. G-III oils generally cost less to produce than G-IV and V oils do. Yet you don't really see much difference in price on the shelves (with some notable exceptions). Knowing this, and knowing that the oil companies know it better than I do, I just don't care -- they can keep their G-III products. Our piddling 12k members are doing a disservice to the brewers of decent G-III oils? Oh well, they brought it upon themselves, both by the naming shenanigans in the first place, and by their pricing strategies.

I also think you're overstating the reliance on VOA. Of course VOA is not a precise predictor of an oil's performance, but it does allow you to get an idea of the strategy of the product's designers, where the product fits in the evolution of oils, and so forth. I admit I was once amused by early claims here that GC had a "weak add pack", but still, you can draw some useful conclusions. Also, quite significantly, you can use VOA as an approximate starting point when analyzing UOA.

But of course, you're entitled to your opinion.

Parting thought -- if an oil company, any oil company, thinks it's being treated unfairly here, they're free to have a rep sign on and respond.
GMorg, if you think it is bad here you should see some of the other auto websites, I cringe at the amount of dis-information that is spread when most people talk about oil, and most of those are not influenced by this site at all.
You sure used the word "we" a lot in your opening statement. I don't think you should take it upon your shoulders to be the spokesman for BITOG. "We" may not all agree with you.

Originally posted by olefam:
I would agree with this except for my disgust at the oil company's who didn't have the time, money, or both to spend on developing a good group IV oil. To get around this and still be "competitive" they lobied the U.S. Govt. to grant "Full Syn" status to less expensive "super refined" (my term) group IIIs.

If you can't get over it, at least research before you post this drivel. The U.S. government was never involved, nor were any federal or state courts. At the time Castrol began using Group III base stocks in the company's U.S. full synthetic SynTec motor oils, the practice had already been in use in Europe for several years by several motor oil companies and refiners. In the U.S. the matter was contested by Mobil Oil Corporation who, along with Castrol, agreed to take their dispute to and abide by binding arbitration of a NON-GOVERNMENTAL agency - the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. Castrol, a formerly independent British motor oil blender with operations worldwide including New Jersey, is now a division of British Petroleum. BP has base oil stock refining ability worldwide, but not in the U.S. BP's Texas refinery operations are currently confined to motor fuel, only. Castrol still procures its base oil stocks wherever the BP division can - and that includes U.S. base oil refineries. (And that may well include ExxonMobil, too - who's been crying all the way to the bank selling Group III base oil stocks to all comers prior to losing in binding arbitration. ExxonMobil was one of the first oil companies to develop hydrocracking technology and the company still sells turnkey operations to competitors as well as licenses their technology worldwide.)

[ March 24, 2006, 01:16 AM: Message edited by: Ray H ]

Originally posted by JAG:
I'm not sure what's worse: people praising Mobil 1 for supposedly having no Group 3 or people trashing other "synthetics" for having Group 3.

I must fall into some other catagory, because I like Group 3 oils and hate brand X1.
Personally, I still don't consider group III as a "synthetic". I use them and acknowledge their superiority over numbers 1 and 2, but still don't consider them synthetic, like a "built up from scratch" basestock.

20C pour point means that there is a difference, 10C flash point means that there is a difference.

Is it really going to make a difference ?

Not sure, but what am I paying for ?

Are the GrIII manufacturers charging us more for lesser specific performance, or are the GrIV/V manufacturers undercharging ?

Should the cost of an oil represent the cost of manufacture ?

Originally posted by Shannow:

Should the cost of an oil represent the cost of manufacture ?

Maybe, maybe not. But when the price of a product is established through artificially inflated, half-true hype, and sustained as a result of customer ignorance, that bothers me. Just my outlook, though.
If manufacturers started putting group numbers on their oil jugs, what's to stop brand Y from getting the cheapest group IV available, mixing it at 70% concentration, and topping off with a lame add pack? Joe Public would figure group numbers were like the number of stars a restaraunt was rated at and buy it for snobbery appeal. A five star restaurant can still serve lousy spaghetti on white linen and a group IV/V oil can underperform compared to a formulation with slightly less whatever and a more balanced add pack approach.
I think there is a difference between group III and group IV & V. Amsoil says their 3000 series oil can go 25,000 miles. I think I saw 35,000 miles somewhere... You don't see Castrol Syntec 5w30, Valvoline Synthetic, etc... saying that.

I realize that BMW Dealers use a group III but have you looked inside of an engine that uses it to 15,000 miles? The dipstick is caked reddish black and the insides look like mud. This is on a 2002 330ci @ 37,000 miles!

Would a group IV or V do better? I haven't tested it but I can't say for sure.

What do you guys think?
Most of us are stat whores. We think/hear one is better and we consider it gospel. People here are talking about using GC in a brand new honda 1.8 civic that recommends 5w20. It's overkill and we all know it but some will use GC where it is not needed at all. People argued over 5w20 till they were blue in the face. Some are draining oil overnight to get every last little drop of oil out. WE are our own worst enemy sometimes. Myself included. I can't make up my mind which synthetic to use and worry about it. Even though i know i could use exxon superflo for $1.50 and get the same results as mobil1. We are stat whores. Havoline full syn wasn't sexy enough for us.
Olefam...your view of syns is the major problem here. It doesn't matter what group it's from as long as it works in your engine. It has been drilled into your head that it must be 100% syn to be good. And that's 100% bullsh.t!
I've never been called a "stat whore" before. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I like statistical evaluation of data. I like knowing means, variation, deviation, ect. I'll have to think about this one, stat whore, hum...
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